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Vatican Cardinal decries criticism of German ‘Synodal Way’ as ‘denunciation’

AC Wimmer   By AC Wimmer for CNA

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, relator general of the Synod of Bishops, speaks at a news conference to present an update on the synod process at the Vatican Aug. 26, 2022. Looking on is Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the synod. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

CNA Newsroom, Aug 29, 2022 / 10:05 am (CNA).

The chief organizer of the Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality has decried as “denunciation” the number of public criticism of the German “Synodal Way.”

Cardinal Mario Grech said he did “not agree with the method used by the critics” of the German process in an interview with the German publication “Herder Thema.”

The secretary general for the Synod of Bishops added that he disapproved of the style: “I think a fraternal correction and dialogue is very positive. But why a public denunciation? It doesn’t help. It only polarizes further.”

Grech also said he could “not say why there was this criticism” of the process, CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported.

He said he tried to follow the German event. “But for me, it’s one thing to follow what gets published and another thing to follow what is really going on. It’s a process.”

“Maybe the communication, in general, could have been handled better,” the cardinal said.

“This would have contributed to a better understanding of what was happening in Germany.” Nonetheless, he said, he had “confidence in the Catholic Church in Germany, and that the bishops know what they are doing.”

Born in Qala, Malta, Grech was ordained a priest in 1984, at the age of 27, for the Diocese of Gozo.

He was one of two authors of the Maltese bishops’ controversial pastoral guidelines on Amoris laetitia, which stated that divorced and remarried Catholics, in certain cases and after “honest discernment,” could receive Communion.

‘Synodal Way’ is not a Synod

The “Synodal Way” — Synodaler Weg in German, sometimes translated as “Synodal Path” — is not a synod. Instead, the process initiated by Cardinal Reinhard Marx is organized by the German Bishops’ Conference together with the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK).

The stated aim is to discuss four main topics: how power is exercised in the Church; the priesthood; the role of women, and sexual morality.

Writing about the “Synodal Way,” Pope Francis warned of disunity in his letter to German Catholics in 2019.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, a German theologian considered close to Pope Francis, in June 2022 warned that the German process is at risk of “breaking its own neck” if it does not heed the objections raised by a growing number of bishops around the world.

In April, more than 100 cardinals and bishops from around the world released a “fraternal open letter” to Germany’s bishops, warning that sweeping changes to Church teaching advocated by the process may lead to schism.

In March, an open letter from the Nordic bishops expressed alarm at the German process. In February, a strongly-worded letter from the president of Poland’s Catholic bishops’ conference raised serious concerns.

The president of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, has repeatedly rejected any and all concerns, instead expressing disappointment in Pope Francis in May 2022.

More recently, another organizer of the German process said the “Synodal Way” wanted to change the Church’s teaching on homosexuality by proposing “a conscious statement against the current Catholic catechism.”

He pointed to a text which not only contained comments about changing views on homosexuality but also about masturbation, marriage, sexual lust, and other related topics pertinent to Catholic doctrine.

In the statement published in July, the Vatican repeated a passage from the pope’s letter published in 2019, wherein Francis had warned — in German — of particular Churches being “separated from the entire ecclesial body,” adding that in such instances “they would weaken, rot and die.”

The members of the “Synodal Way” will meet Sept. 8-10 for what is now the fourth synodal assembly in Frankfurt, CNA Deutsch reported.


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10 Comments

  1. Can Mario honestly face his fears? He does a classical ‘displacement reaction;’ he apparently cannot state with perfect clarity what and with whom he finds fault. Clearly courage is needed to directly confront the Church, Christ Himself, and The Father’s Goodness, Truth and Life with one’s discontent and hatred for those who speak on God’s behalf. Nevertheless Mario makes clear his besmirch and denigration of those who speak without fear the orthodox truth of God and His Holy Church. Call us rigid Pharisees. Call us what you will. God is on our side, and He will win the victory.

    • Unrepentant sinners, hard of heart and stiff of neck, can more credibly called rigid. Pharaoh and the plagues of Egypt was an example of what happens when people act in defiance of God. The Jewish people in the forty years in the desert were just as hard of heart and stiff of neck as was Pharaoh. It proved very difficult to get the Jewish people to put away the worldliness that Egypt represented. They constantly grumbled against God and Moses, see Psalm 95. The spirit of Pharaoh and the worldliness of Egypt appears to be strong in the German Church hierarchy.

  2. As a 72 year old man, I have never been so confused with the church as I am now. This is man’s weakness of pride if we settle with politically correct changes. I would rather worship in a shack with loving true believers who hold the Bible and Tradition’s objective truths of Jesus. If change does come in the form of schism then all Christianity will suffer greatly. Come Lord Jesus Come

  3. Cardinal Grech makes a point about “communication,” but is too much inside the bubble. He exclaims: “But for me […] it’s a process.” The overall criticism is that the non-synod (!) “synodal path”–the mongrel process–IS (!) the message.

    The German/Lutheran process became the message when the combined group (the bishops coupled with the ZdK), early on, rejected the last-ditch proposal (supported by at least 13 steadfast German bishops) for a more structured approach, with the Successors of the Apostles engaged in dialogue but ALSO retaining their distinct responsibilities toward the deposit of faith, their captive-audience flock, and the universal Church.

    Cardinal Grech now finds that public criticism only “polarizes further,” as when there is published push-back to the published (!) signaling of the “process.” For example, that human sexual morality should be turned on its head—and the Catechism gutted (Marx, Batzing, Hollerich). The presumptive magisterium of even Cardinal Hollerich with his bogus paradigm-shift “sociological-scientific foundation” in doctrinal support of male insemination of male colons, also masturbation, and so forth. The man is a circus clown, reminiscent of the clown masses of the late 1960s.

    Butt, in line with Cardinal Grech’s clarification, then, at what point, exactly, is any real “synod,” in Germany, going to replace the non-synod “synodal process,” as within the “continental” synod now in the offing, and in advance of the grand finale Synod on Synodality in 2023 under Hollerich’s tutelage? (The old adage: if you can’t define your term, just keep repeating it!)

    Respectfully, yes, but it must be tough to not be able to marginalize, intimidate, silence, fire or reassign lay critics of publicized moral gangrene and obvious double-speak. With all due respect, wake up and smell the coffee.

  4. Grech?

    Not a communication problem.

    The German Synod is quite clear in communicating their aims. Unless the doctrinal office acts, it will come to a schism at some point. The Holy Spirit cannot allow a subversion of the Faith; morality is the other pillar.

  5. I say the German Church is already in Schism. Time to make it formal and excommunicate all their bishops except Voderholser, Woelki, Muller and Brandmuller. They have done enough damage to the Catholic faith and the diseased limb needs to be amputated to protect the rest of the body.

  6. When a Pope praises and promotes to Bishop men who are active homosexuals or to Cardinal men who protect those defilers of young men, that Pope is actively undermining the very Church instituted by Jesus and left to his care. Add to that his active crushing of conservative Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass and many of the old rites and hymns and you have a Pope whose personal distorted view of Church history makes him susceptible to the lure of Satan. May God Almighty help the faithful, destroy the defilers and save the Church.

  7. The agenda of the German “Synodal Way” is evil and idiotic, and a crime against humanity. A failure to denounce it is evil and idiotic, and a crime against humanity. Is this clear enough for you Cardinal Hollerich?

  8. Matthew 18:17 Fraternal Correction
    “If he ignores them, refer it to the church . If he ignores even the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. I assure you, whatever you declare bound on earth shall be held bound in heaven, and whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be held loosed in heaven.”

    Pope Francis needs to anathematize German Bishops, for the Spiritual protection of the Body of Jesus’ Universal Catholic Church, so that Satan does not pull the whole Body of Christ’s Church into hell.

    Matthew 18:9
    If your eye is your downfall, gouge it out and cast it from you! Better to enter life with one eye than be thrown with both into fiery Gehenna.

    Luke 11:34
    The lamp of the body is your eye. When your eye is sound, then your whole body is filled with light, but when it is bad, then your body is in darkness.

    The “eyes” of the “body” of Christ’s Church, are our Catholic Church Leaders. Jesus Commands His Church, that if Her eye is Her undoing, She is to gouge it out and cast it into hell. Catholic Anathema is Jesus’ lips binding sinners to their sins, which cuts evildoers off from the body of the Church and casts them into hell, for the protection of the Body of Jesus’ Church on earth.

    Matthew 18:5
    “Whoever welcomes one such child for my sake welcomes me. On the other hand, it would be better for anyone who leads astray one of these little ones who believes in me, to be drown by a millstone around his neck, in the depths of the sea. What terrible things will come on the world through scandal! It is inevitable that scandal should occur. Nonetheless, woe to that man through whom scandal comes! If your hand or foot is your undoing, cut it off and throw it from you! Better to enter life maimed or crippled than be thrown with two hands or feet into endless fire. If your eye is your downfall, gouge it out and cast it from you! Better to enter life with one eye than be thrown with both into fiery Gehenna.

    ANATHEMA
    the formula of anathema which ends with these words: Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N– himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate….”
    …He who dares to despise our decision, let him be stricken with anathema maranatha, i.e. may he be damned at the coming of the Lord, may he have his place with Judas Iscariot, he and his companions.

    https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm

    Tell the schism German Bishops to take their pope voting Cardinals with them when they leave! We don’t want that refuse, who are liberals out to destroy Christ’s Church, left behind in the Vatican. We can re-evangelize the pagan nation Germany.

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